Matt Shea of Australia’s The Vine recently conducted an interview with drummer Matt Sorum (GUNS N’ ROSES, VELVET REVOLVER, THE CULT). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Vine: [VELVET REVOLVER] was the first time you were out front of a band. Not on stage of course, but just in terms of taking a leading role in the affairs of the group. Was that something that came naturally to you at that time?
Sorum: No. That particular band was really sort of an idea that came from a death of a friend. A friend of mine passed away. I had a tribute concert. I couldn’t get Ozzy because Ozzy wasn’t available, but the drummer that passed away was Randy Castillo [Ozzy Osbourne‘s drummer during the mid-1980s to early 1990s] so I called Slash and Duff and asked if they’d come and play. We got together, Steven Tyler came, Josh [Todd] from BUCKCHERRY sang. And CYPRESS HILL — those guys got up, which was kind of weird … But it came up killer, and the crowd just loved it, and the next day Slash and Duff were like, “Okay, let’s do something.” That was the beginning of VELVET REVOLVER. Then we spent two years building this project. I was really a leader in that band. Slash and Duff have always kind of taken my voice, even though I was never really represented in that way back in GUNS N’ ROSES — I was always that guy behind the scenes. When VELVET REVOLVER came along, I was like, “We need to make a modern rock’n’roll album here.” I was helping pick the producer, picking the mixer, picking the songs and a lot of the business end of things. I think I was a bit paranoid in a way, too. I didn’t want to screw it up: “Let me help. Maybe if I help we won’t screw this up.”
The Vine: Any further news on a new VELVET REVOLVER record, or nailing down a new frontman for the band?
Sorum: Yeah, they’re at home trying out a guy right now. Their sitting in a room looking at a singer named Jimmy Gnecco [of OURS]. So we’ll see how that goes, and then we’ve got a couple of other ideas. It looks like Slash is going to make another album, but I’m not sure about his touring and stuff yet. So we’ll see how that goes. But we’re all open to it and interested in trying to do something together.
The Vine: GUNS N’ ROSES: how often do people ask you if the band’s getting back together?
Sorum: I just don’t have an answer. That’s the thing: I’m not the guy. I wish I knew, but I’d be the last guy to hear about it, probably. You’d know about it before I would. My grandmother would call me to let me know [laughs]. I’d be a rich man if for every time I got asked that question I got handed a dollar bill. I’d be a wealthy, wealthy man.
The Vine: You’ve got so much else going on now — DIAMOND BABY, DARLING STILETTOS, your other production work — would you even have time or the inclination for a reunion?
Sorum: If the number was high enough [laughs]. No, you know what: I just love creating music. When I left GUNS N’ ROSES, I thought I was starting to lose my soul. Why did I get into this business in the first place? Because I love music, and I want to make some music. I don’t want to sit around and get caught up in a bunch of drama. If I’m going to feel uncomfortable and spiritually not well, what’s the point? It’s like, “Let’s make some music, man.” One thing I do care about is the fans. And the one thing I learned later on in life is that a lot of people got a lot of joy from that. So if that’s the only reason to do it, I think that’s a great reason. If everyone could just put all their differences aside. But if that time will ever come, I’m not sure. I’m cool with whatever.
Read the entire interview from The Vine.
Jimmy Gnecco of OURS sang lead vocals on three songs (“Slither” by VELVET REVOLVER, “It’s So Easy” by GUNS N’ ROSES and “Hey Joe” by JIMI HENDRIX) during the Road Recovery benefit concert in New York City in September with Slash, Duff McKagan, Sorum, Gilby Clarke (ex-GUNS N’ ROSES) and Dave Kushner (VELVET REVOLVER). Fan-filmed video footage of his performance can be seen below.